Friday, September 21, 2012

Top 5 Reasons Good Communication Matters

5. Without it, you're selling yourself short.

You are a unique individual with unique things to offer. You bring something to the table that no one else can ever duplicate or replace: your authentic voice. By cultivating your voice (or hiring someone to help you bring out what makes you wonderful), you not only help other people get to know you, you can get up close and personal with what makes your strengths and talents so very valuable to the world. And since no one can tell your story better than you can, bringing your personal and professional communication up to scratch is your best bet for making sure your audience gets the complete picture of what an unmitigated badass you are.

4. Getting it wrong can be disastrous.

Most conflicts are, at the core, matters of miscommunication. Saying the wrong thing, at the wrong time, can have results more far-reaching than you could ever imagine. It's the difference between making an enemy and making a new friend. It's the difference between sending someone back to Google to find a new source for what they need, or a new customer who knows they've come to the right place. An on-point message is your strongest weapon in the cacophony that is the Internet: it's a voice that comes through loud and clear when the rest is just noise.

3. Who doesn't like to save time?

Wrong directions are a bummer. Getting it right saves time on both ends: your audience understands exactly what you mean, and you don't have to re-explain or correct mistaken impressions.

2. Good communication is inviting.

I'm going to describe to you two shop windows, and you tell me which shop you'd like to visit. One display has dirty, fogged glass that makes it difficult to see, dusty and broken merchandise, and an overall feeling of neglect and negligence. The second has crystal clear glass with brightly-lit, perfectly arranged products set against a colorful backdrop.

It's obvious to you, the observer, that the first business doesn't care much for its image, and that gives you a pretty clear idea of the care and attention (or lack thereof) they'll give their customers. At best, you might think they're well-intentioned business owners who let the busy nature of daily life get ahead of them. At worst, you'll assume the shop is closed for good, and you won't even try to open the door.

Glass doesn't stay clear unless someone cleans it. And those products didn't find themselves laid out just-so by accident. The effort the second shop has put into their display, the first "messaging" their customer receives before they even step in the door, is quite plain. These business owners have worked hard to send you a message: we're open for business, we're ready for you to come on inside, and we know exactly how to serve you.

The first shop is the image you create when your grammar is off, your word choices aren't quite right, your information is out of date, or chunks of it are missing altogether. It turns people off or makes them assume nobody's home. After all, if you can't even take the time to make sure your sentences are properly constructed, how much of an expert can you actually be?

The second image, clearly the more successful business of the two, projects professionalism. These are business owners who put time and passion into the work they do, because they've taken care to show you they know how to attend to every last detail. Proper spelling, grammar and accurate, current communications project (loudly!) the message that you've got it together.

1. Ain't nobody a mind reader.

People won't know what you mean unless you tell them. They won't know what you're selling unless you show them. They won't know what you're trying to say unless you say it clearly. Clear communications are a huge sign of respect for your audience: you're showing them that you know their time is too important to waste any of it on a piece of writing or messaging that makes no sense. And respect begets repeat customers.

And there you have it.
If you want people to get the message loud and clear, you have to craft it carefully, or delegate that task to a wordsmith with a vision. Never underestimate the power of good communication -- it will make you or break you, and if you're like me, you'd rather have it made.

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